Book Review: The Recession Groom by Vani

A mixture gone wrong.

By Ambica Gulati

Though Indian fiction is fast picking up, somehow Indian authors have developed a tendency to keep repeating themselves and the world around them. And same is the case with The Recession Groom. It is a story of a normal, not much of a go-getter Parshuraman Joshi. Young, Hindu - Brahmin, IT professional, settled in Canada, earns a high-figure salary, Joshi is  a case of an Indian lost in transition between cultures. Unable to leave the Indian upbringing and mindset but wanting the prosperity of the western world.

The book is a clichéd plot of a single eligible man who is living by the Indian cultural rules in a developed country. The book opens with the protagonist getting a call from India as his sister has selected a girl for him. And the girl’s side wants to know more about him and the questions are clichéd—have you dated anyone, “don’t want our Dolly babysitting someone else’s child”. Even in the Indian context, this is an outdated beginning. There is no humour and no catchy phrase which compels the reader to go forward with the story.

The book is centered around North India—the capital Delhi and Chandigarh. And most of us living in north India are familiar with the culture here. The book does not highlight anything which we are not aware of. A foreigner landing drunk, wearing shorts and tight t-shirts—are we not done with this even now? How long are we going to keep hyping about the cultural habits and differences which are eventually going to fade away, if we let it.

Even the names of the characters—Mrs Gulati, Mrs Dhawan are common but there is no spin to the characters. The Punjabi aunties most of us Punjabis dread keep doing the usual stuff and in a completely clear and clichéd manner. They want to hook up families and get their children married. What’s new and different in this is that it needs to go into a book—I couldn’t figure it out.

Even the name Parshuraman, India’s penchant for naming people after mythological figures just doesn’t end. There are too many jumps in the book—the protagonist has a cushioned job, outsourcing work is happening in India, Indians want a foreign trip, there is loss of job as the company shifts work to a cheaper continent, and then inability to find a job, a wrong engagement, woman saying she was physically abused in an earlier marriage, not reaching the marriage grounds at the nth hour and embarrassment in front of guests. Eventually Parshuraman discovering that he loves the Canadian ex-colleague and then rushing to stop her marriage.

The book does nothing, but recreate the family serials coming on TV and gives doses of Bollyood scripts and is a complete khichdi or should I say a broth which is bland and doesn’t please the palate. Neither is the writing style interesting, nor the plot and the editing could have been better.

A fresh perspective from a young author on the country which is going through a huge transition would have been a better deal, rather than talking about the done and the dying ideology.


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